Campaign to change the law
Friends at the End supports the right of everyone to have a good death, including the right to die at a time and place of their choosing. Currently, in Scotland, there is no legislation prohibiting or allowing assisted dying. Instead, assisted dying is considered the common law crime of homicide. We aim to change this by legalising assisted dying via our democratically elected parliament.
We advocate for a law that allows a terminally ill person to take life-ending medication themselves. We do not advocate for euthanasia, where someone else, usually a doctor, administers the life-ending medication. Exceptions to this include where the person is unable to self-ingest. To find out more, see Assisted dying.
Our assisted dying model
We believe that medically assisted dying should be available to mentally competent adults with:
- a terminal illness or an incurable condition
- no reasonable alternative to relieve their illness or condition
- a voluntary, persistent request for assistance in dying.
In Scotland, terminal illness is a progressive disease where the consequence of that illness is that death can be reasonably expected – no time limit applies. It includes a wide range of different diseases and individuals may have a single disease or a number of conditions at any one time.
How we campaign for the legalisation of assisted dying
Friends at the End provides research and legal advice on legislation and sponsors the Cross-Party Group on End of Life Choices in the Scottish Parliament. We have supported MSPs in the Scottish Parliament to bring forward three bills, and our employee, Dr Amanda Ward was advisor to the member in charge on the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill. Dr Ward is currently serving as Research and Legal Advisor to Mr McArthur on the current proposal. She is recognised as the expert on Scots Law on Assisted Dying both in academia, public policy and with the public – ensuring that this proposal is the most robust, safeguarded, and compassionate law brought to date.
Friends at the End also facilitates local support and campaigning groups and works with like-minded organisations in the third, private and public sectors. Our work sponsoring legal cases such as that of Gordon Ross, Omid T, Phil Newby, and others adds weight to the pressure on legislators to change the law.
How you can support an assisted dying law in Scotland
There are a number of ways you can help with our campaign: